Women are known to wear multiple hats; from capable empowering managers who lead their teams to achieve great business outcomes to working mothers who shuttle their kids to and from school, while still making time for their partners, friends, and their passions.
Their vehicles, be it cars, station wagons, SUVs or MPVs – are easily their main ‘partner-in-crime’ to make all these happen. It comes as no surprise that women are overtaking men on the fast lane and clocking in more mileage on the odometer.
The surge in the number of women car owners has been phenomenal in recent times. According to industry experts, around 10 to 12% of sales in India’s 2.96 million car market are accounted for by women today, with car sales to women nearly having doubled over the past five years. Women also make 65% of new car purchase decisions and spend over US$200 billion on new cars and the servicing of vehicles each year.
Breaking the gender bias
Around the world, women are also taking the racing industry by storm. Women’s participation in motorsport has hugely increased in recent years, with series such as W Series and Extreme E providing invaluable support for female drivers. This year will also usher in yet another first for Formula One, the F1 Academy, in an incredible step forward to furthering the participation of women in the formulae series with an eye to reaching Formula One.
In recent times, the region has also seen women drivers taking up roles across the ride-hailing, public transport and even the heavy machinery industries with women manoeuvring mining haul trucks. By focusing on what’s within our control and making the conscious choice to chase our dreams and passion, we women have continuously shown that we have what it takes to succeed.
Women are generally bad drivers, you say? I’m afraid that’s no longer the case.
Empowering women drivers and car owners
There is a need to empower women to be better educated on car maintenance and quality car products to protect a tool that’s so crucial in supporting their family and livelihood. A study by car insurance comparison app Jerry found that women pay thousands more than men over the course of eight years, the average length of time people own a car.
According to the study, women pay US$142 more per year than men for car ownership on average and can pay up to US$7,800 more during the length of ownership. In addition, women pay US$117 more than men when buying new cars and US$23 more than men for car repairs.
With proper knowledge of car maintenance and upkeep, these additional expenses can be prevented and channelled to their household expenses, self-pampering sessions or treating their families on a good day out.
The upkeeping of a car may seem like a masculine activity with car engine oils seemingly catered to auto enthusiasts or workshop owners, but we want to change that here at Shell Lubricants Asia Pacific.
As the number one global lubricants supplier, we offer formulations for vehicles with world-class technology in our products. Shell’s carbon-neutral offering for Shell Helix motor oils is also designed to help motorists reduce their carbon footprint through improved engine efficiency and extended oil drain intervals. We also ensure that our range of Shell Lubricants is as accessible to our customers – from their trusted neighbourhood workshops, and service centres, to Shell mobility stations.
In the Philippines, Shell’s #BabaeKasi campaign was launched in 2019 to address the stigma of female drivers. Kickstarting the campaign was the ‘Women Drive the Future! Bootcamp’ where participants were treated to a hands-on demonstration of A-1 Driving School and had a refresher on tire changing, dealing with a dead battery, and performing a lubricant check.
Driving out stereotypes
It is heartening to see the many efforts and positive outcomes in overcoming some of the deeply entrenched stereotypes, be it around women with their vehicles or in their careers. Regardless of the industry, as a woman, we are more prone to dilemmas and challenges around juggling our personal time with family time and our career.
Overcoming this dilemma first comes from within. Instead of limiting ourselves to what we think we can do, adjusting our mindset alone can eliminate most of the challenge itself. Having awareness of the opportunities in each environment allows us to leverage our strengths to fill the gaps and rise to the next level. We also need to learn how to set boundaries and remind ourselves why these conscious choices were made and to make peace with them.
The external factor is equally as important to provide women with the right support, resources and opportunities needed to be successful in their careers. At Shell Lubricants Asia Pacific, we value talent diversity. We pride ourselves in fostering an environment that provides women with the flexibility to be the best version of themselves, embracing their life journey.
We are also seeing greater participation from aspiring women engineers and scientists in our young talent engagement programmes such as Shell Eco-Marathon and Imagine the Future. Only by breaking out of the bias, we tend to box ourselves into then can we see that there are equal opportunities within reach.
It can be challenging for women who are often juggling many roles – as a boss, wife, mother and more – and we want to be the reliable partner that supports them day-to-day. What we can do is create an environment where women feel empowered to succeed in different aspects of their lives – in their careers, families, personal passions and even the simple act of maintaining and protecting their vehicles.